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Kawasaki becomes a strategic investor in the framework of Series B funding for the Cassio electric-hybrid aircraft family
Monday, 22 May 2023

Kawasaki Motors Ltd. has become a strategic investor in VoltAero, joining Series B funding for the development, production and certification of VoltAero's Cassio electric-hybrid aircraft family.

This investment – which was announced prior to the opening of the EBACE European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition in Geneva, Switzerland – marks the Cassio program's latest milestone, uniting VoltAero and Kawasaki in a shared vision for the future of electric aviation.

“Kawasaki's engine expertise and its capacity for innovation brings a new dimension to VoltAero as we complete the final definition of our electric-hybrid powertrain for the Cassio aircraft family,” said Jean Botti, VoltAero's CEO & Chief Technology Officer. “Having Kawasaki as a strategic investor is another major vote of confidence for the Cassio program.”

Hiroshi Ito, President and CEO of Kawasaki Motors Ltd., added: “We were deeply impressed by VoltAero's creative design and innovative technology in the aviation industry, as well as its strong sense of mission to help realize a carbon-neutral society, and decided to invest in VoltAero. We are delighted to contribute to VoltAero's business growth through this investment.”

The Series B round marks the third funding phase for VoltAero, positioning it for the industrialization of its Cassio 330 – the first in Cassio's electric-hybrid aircraft family.

VoltAero's airframe design for the Cassio series of airplanes is based on a sleek, aerodynamically-optimized fuselage, a forward fixed canard, and an aft-set wing with twin booms that support a high-set horizontal tail.

By integrating VoltAero's patented electric-hybrid propulsion system into the company's purpose-designed airframe, the Cassio aircraft family will deliver an order of magnitude higher performance as compared to the current competition, and provide significantly lower operational costs.

The VoltAero propulsion concept is unique: Cassio aircraft will utilize electric motors in the aft fuselage-mounted propulsion system for all-electric power during taxi, takeoff, primary flight (if the distance traveled is less than 150 km.), and landing. The hybrid feature – with an internal combustion engine – comes into play as a range extender, recharging the batteries while in flight. Additionally, this hybrid element serves as a backup in the event of a problem with the electric propulsion, ensuring true fail-safe functionality.

Production Cassio airplanes will be built in three versions, each sharing a high degree of modularity and commonality. The family will provide a highly capable and reliable product line for regional commercial operators, air taxi/charter companies, private owners, as well as in utility-category service for cargo, postal delivery and medical evacuation (Medevac) applications.

First to enter service is the Cassio 330, with five seats and powered by the 330-kilowatt electric-hybrid propulsion system. VoltAero's follow-on six-seat Cassio 480 will have an electric-hybrid propulsion power of 480 kilowatts, while the Cassio 600 is sized at a 12-seat capacity with electric-hybrid propulsion power of 600 kilowatts.

VoltAero is headquartered at the Aérodrome de Royan-Médis in southwest France, and its Cassio aircraft are to undergo final assembly in a purpose-built facility at the Rochefort Charente-Maritime Airport in France's Nouvelle-Aquitaine region.

Contact details from our directory:
VoltAero Airframer
Kawasaki Aerospace Airframer
Related aircraft programs:
VoltAero Cassio
Related directory sectors:
Fuel Systems
Engine Components